The Hopkins Method

Discussion in 'Raising Queens' started by Iddee, May 7, 2011.

  1. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    BIG BATCHES OF NATURAL CELLS BY THE HOPKINS OR CASE METHOD

    Many extensive honey producers who desire to make short work of requeening an entire apiary, and who do not care to bother with mating boxes or other extra paraphernalia, make use of the Case method, which has been somewhat modified from its original form. This method is advocated by such well known beekeepers as Oscar Dines of New York and Henry Brenner of Texas. The plan was first used in Europe.

    To begin with, a strong colony is made queenless to serve as a cell building colony. Then a frame of brood is removed from the center of the brood nest of the colony containing the breeding queen from whose progeny it is desired to rear the queens. In its place is given a tender new comb not previously used for brood rearing. At the end of four days this should be well filled with eggs and just hatching larvae. If the queen does not make use of this new comb at once, it should not be removed until four days from the time when she begins to lay in its cells. At that time nearly all the cells should be filled with eggs and some newly hatched larvae.

    This new comb freshly filled is ideal for cell building purposes. The best side of the comb is used for the queen cells and is prepared by destroying two rows of worker cells and leaving one, beginning at the top of the frame. This is continued clear across the comb. We will now have rows of cells running lengthwise of the comb, but if used without further preparation the queen cells will be built in bunches that will be impossible to separate without injury to many of them. Accordingly, we begin at one end, and destroy two cells and leave one in each row, cutting them down to the midrib, but being careful not to cut through and spoil the opposite side. Some practice destroying three or four rows of cells, and leaving one to give more room between the finished queen cells.

    We now have a series of individual worker cells over the entire surface of the comb, with a half inch or more of space between them. The practice varies somewhat with different beekeepers beyond this point. However, this prepared surface is laid flatwise with cells facing down, over the brood nest of the queenless colony, first taking care to make sure that any queen cells they may have started are destroyed. In general, it is recommended that the colony be queenless about seven days before giving this comb. By this time there will be no larvae left in the hive young enough for rearing queens, and the bees will he very anxious to restore normal conditions. Some beekeepers simply take away all unsealed brood, rather than leave the bees queenless so long.

    As generally used, this method requires a special box or frame to hold the prepared comb. This is closed on one side to prevent the escape of heat upward and to hold the comb securely in place. Some kind of support is necessary to hold the comb far enough above the frames to leave plenty of room for drawing large queen cells. It is also advisable to cover the comb with a cloth which can be tucked snugly around it, to hold the heat of the cluster. By using an empty comb-honey super above the cluster, there is room enough for the prepared comb and also for plenty of cloth to make all snug and warm.

    Strong colonies only should be used for this, as for any other method of queen rearing. If all conditions are favorable, the beekeeper will secure a maximum number of cells. From 75 to 100 fine cells are not unusual. By killing the old queens a day or two before the ripe cells are given, it is possible to requeen a whole apiary by this method with a minimum of labor. According to Miss Emma Wilson, it is possible to get very good results by this method, without mutilating the comb, although it is probable that a smaller number of queen cells will be secured. By laying the comb on its side as practiced in this connection, the cells can be removed with a very slight effort and with a minimum of danger.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Interesting!
    Has anyone ever tried it this way?
    The only part that confuses me is putting cloth around the frame lying on its side. Wouldn't the bees make a complete mess of this? I wonder if an 1 1/2" spacer would do much the same thing without needing "plenty of cloth".
    I have never tried to raise queens (other than walkaway splits) but if I knew of an uncomplicated way (and this seems to come close) I might be inclined to give it a try.
    Thanks Iddee.
     

  3. rast

    rast New Member

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    I think the "cloth" is to contain the heat on the top side of the frame. Just draped from one side of the box to the other and laying on the top of the comb.
     
  4. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Somewhere in my reading was a suggestion that another empty frame between the larvae frame and the top bars below would give the correct space for cell building.

    Using the same general layout but using the flour dusting to cull all but the desired queen cell positions like described by the Queens On The Spot method sounded like it might be less destructive to the comb for further use. Wonder how the bees clean it up after.
    Nother thought was putting two layers of foundation back to back so queen cells could be carved off and easily separated from the opposite side cells; dont know whether the bees would buy that though.

    Frank
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I like the idea of foundation back to back, you could even put a piece of 1/4" plywood between them to make it even easier.
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Well Tecumseh says I'll have to learn to graft! I can see advantages to that as you dont have to destroy any comb and not necessary to get close timed egg batches laid up on selected virgin comb.
    The notion of having the very youngest undisturbed larvae fed for a queen from the start, seems to be the plus for the non graft methods though. Lots of ideas to play with.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    might I suggest Crofter that you try both and don't exclude either.

    as a younger fellow my bee keeping hero was a fellow by the name of Jay Smith. a queen rearer with a reputation that everyone envied in his day. wrote a couple of books that explored the possibilities of raising superior queens without grafting. rhetorically he had a wicked sense of humor and had some really insightful comments in regards to both bees and bee keepers. his small books are now rarer than hens teeth and are (if you could find one) quite expensive. his final system for rearing queens was pretty similar to the cell punch method. I think Michael Bush has reproduced at least one of Jay Smith's book on his web sight.

    and the best to you in your adventure.
     
  8. rast

    rast New Member

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    I agree 100%. I can graft, but my percentages of takes are low, just don't do it enough to stay in practice. I enjoy trying new (to me) methods. The Hopkins method was interesting. The queen didn't touch the comb I put in there when I checked and then a wife and an occupation interfered. No big deal, I will get back to it. I have to try something like that several times before forming an opinion. Learn all you can.
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions; I will order one of the chinese style grafters and practice a bit. Hand steadiness is an issue but already have some of the vision enhancing gear. I like the idea of the Cloake board and seems it can be used to advantage to control hive conditions no matter what method you use to actually get queen cells started.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    lots of things bee wise have their + and -. I don't use the cloak board since I don't have to rear large numbers of cells and I have plenty of bee resources to accomplish this by using swarm boxes.

    someone that had limited bee resources might profit by the use of the cloake board since you don't need lots of bee resources to put together 'cell starters' stuffed with brood bees that you knock off from strong healthy hives. my understanding is that with the Cloake board method setting up and feeding up the hive much prior to cell rearing is pretty essential.
     
  11. BKeilman

    BKeilman New Member

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    I just wanted to drop in to say...

    I just read this post today (as part of my voracious appetite for information regarding beekeeping... I've just been lurking!) and found it intriguing, clever, and I set it aside.

    I'm also sitting here right now reading on my Nook Color various free books on beekeeping, all of which are, invariably dated around or before 1914 :p

    Well, I was reading in "Money in Bees in Australasia: A Practical Treatise on the Profitable Management of the Honey Bee in Australasia [ 1916 ]" the author, Tarlton Rayment, described this method, even with fastening it to the top of the hive.

    The only real difference is that he describes it using only one row of comb. I'm sure a clever beek in 1916 could expand upon that.

    I don't know why I found it so fascinating that I had to break my lurker status just to post this... but then again, I don't know why I'm so fascinated with bees. I just know that I am, to the extent that even if I'm having a good time at a college party, if someone has the misfortune of asking me about bees, they're doomed to at least an hour of excited, frantic, almost manic lectures on the topic :p

    Thanks for keeping me addicted, guys!
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hello BKeilman:

    Glad you took the plunge and joined us (officially/publicly/etc.) :mrgreen:
    I would tell you that there is lots of good information to be had here but you are probably aware of that already.
    I know of what you speak about "bee talk", I am pretty sure when I am at a get together, most of my friends make a concerted effort to steer conversation away from anything that might lead to "bee talk" :lol:
    Welcome!
     
  13. JaseEmtp

    JaseEmtp New Member

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    I was reading up on this method and I am looking at giving this a shot this summer. I think this is similar to what oldtimer has posted on beesource, but I could be wrong. My friends and family also know to keep me away from bee talk.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hey JasEmtp:

    I see this was your first post, welcome aboard our friendly forum! :wave:
     
  15. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Hello JasEmtp and welcome to the forum :wave:
    Glad you found us over here, friendly bunch of folks!!
     
  16. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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  17. rail

    rail New Member

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    I enjoy his writings and methods. Link to one of his books.

    http://archive.org/stream/queenrearingsimp00smit#page/n7/mode/2up
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    thanks for the link rail....